If you are looking for more income, and you live in a college town, you may be thinking of renting out space to students. Take a look at some considerations and tips to help you get started with this process.
Meet with a Real Estate Agent and Builder
In order for garage apartments to be noticed by students, they need to be listed on real estate websites. You should contact a real estate professional to help you garner notice from possible tenants, since they will have the best resources.
Along with meeting the agent, be sure to contact a builder. In order to be able to rent out your garage space, you need to apply for the right permits and make sure your building is up to code in your area. The building codes will tell you which standards your space will have to meet in order for it to be considered a livable space.
Make a List of Renovations
The most important—probably most expensive parts of your renovations—will be the plumbing and HVAC systems. Garages can be notoriously drafty, so you may need to install more insulation in the walls, add moisture barriers by the garage door, etc. If you already have heating and cooling in the main house, and your garage is attached, you could save money by just extending this system with more ducts.
Windows and an external door are also important. Your tenants will want natural light, and they will need a way into the garage without opening the main garage door.
Consider How This Change Will Affect Your Home's Value
Typically, additional space adds more value to a home. However, garage apartments can be tricky and actually take away value if they aren't done correctly. For instance, if you decide to sell your house, make sure that you have a carport or an ample driveway so that people with cars aren't buying a house without a place to park their vehicle.
Your real estate agent can assess your neighborhood and town to see what changes are appropriate. For instance, some people may want to remove the garage door and create a solid wall that matches the rest of the house's architecture. However, some HOAs require you to keep the garage door in order to match the rest of the neighborhood. If you have to do this, all is not lost. Consider replacing the garage door with glass panels to let light in and give the space a modern look for your tenants.
Draw Up Rules for the Possible Tenants
Things you may want to draft in your rental agreement include
- A required background check
- Rates for rental deposits, rent, utilities, etc. and when they are due
- The length of a lease. For instance, if you live in a college town, you may want to keep leases shorter to coincide with semesters.
- Basic rules of the house. For instance, if you have a young child that needs to nap at a certain time, you should verify quiet-time hours
- Designation of space. For instance, if you your tenant wants to use your washer and dryer, you should designate which times your personal space can be used—or not used.
If you keep all of these ideas in mind, renovating your garage will go much more smoothly. Contact a real estate professional for more information.